National Geographic : 1925 Mar
286 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Flandrin "THE GIBRALTAR OF VALE TCIA" One of the most remarkable natural curiosities along the eastern Spanish coast is Peiiiscola, a little fishing village on a rock out in the Mediterranean several hundred yards from the coast and joined to it only by a low, narrow sandy strip. It is the more extraordinary because in this region the shore line is quite straight and regular and the hills have receded to some distance from the sea. This stronghold was wrested from the Moors by Jaime I of Aragon in 1233. It was the residence of Benedict XIII, antipope, with his cardinals, after the Council of Constance deposed him, in 1417. A group of fishermen's huts appears at the foot of the cliffs, where a welcome beach affords a possible terrain de se- coursJ should our faithful motor fail us. The tiny white ribbon of a road creeps along the face of a rocky cliff, hot and panting under the flooding sunliaht, until it finds brief respite in a shadowy tunnel. ALHAMBRA PALACE A HALF HOUR'S FLIGHT TO THE RIGHT Our new pilot, who joined us at Ali- cante, is a tall, vigorous-appearing Corsi- can with leathery skin, tremendous hooked nose, and dark, flashing eyes. He points to the jumbled hills thousands of feet below, pulls his nose. makes a wry face, and shakes his finger disparagingly. The tanned kerchief about his neck whips in the breeze; the silken sock which he wears for a helmet is much the worse for constant exposure to grease and oil; and his sharp eyes face the \yind without the protection of goggles. A valley opens out and 1£11aga ap- pears, a welcome sight after four hours.* It is hot on the ground, and tropical palms, their fronds gray with dust, bor- der the field. p this valley a brief, cool half hour by air-and most of a disagree- able day by Spanish train-lies Alhambra Palace on its wooded hill, Granada at its feet (see page 294); and sometimes, when the wind is right, the pilot lays his course that way, deserting the shore line for the inland route. But such was not our good fortune. In 10 minutes we have transferred to a new plane, and with another pilot are off down the coast, the lower contours flat- tening out as \ve rise above them. Here at last the long Spanish coast ends at the Strait of Gibraltar, culminating in that strange, formidable outthrust of the earth named after a long-dead 1\1001' * See also "From Granada to Gibraltar-a Tour of Southern Spain," by Harry A. Mc- Bride, in THE GEOGRAPHIC for August, 1924.